August 5, 2015 – Hong Kong Airlines (HKA) plans to open a new route from Hong Kong to Australia in January 2016 using Airbus A330-300 aircraft. Initial trial services will offer charter services through March 2016.
The new schedule will offer a 3X-week service from Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok Airport to Coolangatta Airport, Gold Coast, Australia, then onward to Cairns International Airport before flying back to Hong Kong.
The airline said the new service is “long anticipated” and would enable the full-service carrier to leverage its connections in Asia to popular Australian tourist destinations.
“We believe the new service will be well received by passengers from Beijing, Shanghai, Okinawa, Bangkok and Taipei,” the airline said.
The move comes as Qantas’s low-cost offshoot, Jetstar, has been denied access to Hong Kong as a base in Asia. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce described the decision to disallow Jetstar Hong Kong to start operations as “going in the opposite direction,” adding that it was “shutting the door to new competition” and would only serve vested interests.
In the short term, Hong Kong Airlines will be not be able to fly to primary airports at Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney as the major Hong Kong carriers dominate available slots there. However, Chinese carriers are known to be looking at secondary Australian cities including Hobart, Adelaide and other destinations such as Darwin under the existing air services agreement (ASA) between the two countries.